Looking away – but where to?

Zivilisationsmüll - Adrianos Schlucht, Kreta

The first thing I see of Greece is a floating pet bottle in the blue water off the Peloponnese. I do a man-overboard maneuver and fish it up. It was a mistake. A real Greek would not only have let it drift, but would have thrown his cardboard coffee cup after it. Diving in Pylos, … Read more

Bull in a China Shop

When you travel, you make a fool of yourself. You stumble over a lack of language skills, unwritten rules, narcissistic pride of the locals. As long as it’s not about his bulging wallet, the traveller is far below. And when authorities are involved, only humility help. “Ochi!” shouts the woman from the Coast Guard. “Ochi! … Read more

Little surprises

16 tons Reykja on vintage crane

When I fly back to REYKJA after three weeks in Switzerland, life has changed. Not necessarily for the better – but it could have been much worse. First, the cab driver at Athens airport charges 20 euros more than his colleague three weeks ago. “Registered price” he says in a firm voice. I don’t believe … Read more

The mediterranean does not exist

Stromboli by night

The Mediterranean is many seas. They have different names, winds, dangers, even different salinity. On the way from Menorca via Sardinia, Sicily to Greece, I cross three of these seas. How I had looked forward before my journey to the magical moment when the land sinks and all around me is only sea. I imagined … Read more

Island of stones

Cala de Algeyerens

All I knew about Menorca was that this place existed. Somewhere. All the more surprising is the encounter with an island where at first they don’t want to let me go ashore. Thursday evening, shortly before five. After the crossing from Mallorca, I radio Ciutadella’s marinas. Sheer horror on the other end. At 11.99 metres, … Read more

Cat pee in the air

Sa paret des moro

Cleaning ladies’ island, Teutonic grill, alcohol corpses, mass tourism – when I enter the bay of Palma de Mallorca, I expect the most embarrassing place in the world (after Zurich and Las Vegas). Two months later, however, I have also seen a beautiful island. Only: Where does this penetrating smell of cat piss come from? … Read more

Big brother is watching …

Suspicious course and rescue

REYKJA carries AIS, Automatic Identification System. A transponder sends the data of my position. Vice versa, I see the positions of other ships, their names, speed, size, and much more. If I collide in the near future, the AIS will buzz poisonously, and tells me when and where it will be. This has advantages – … Read more

To be washed up

Tarifa from the sea

Two months in Algés, three days in Lagos, two weeks Almerimar. I didn’t seek the places I would end up in. The ship decides. It requires shipyard, locksmith, rigger, electrician. REYKJA dictates the course of the journey. I’m just getting washed up. Lisbon Algés is a district of Lisbon. There is no tram line 28E, … Read more

Crossing an ocean

Gale in Bay of Biscay

This is the minimum requirement for sailing pensioners: that they cross an ocean. At least one. Better three, then they could call themselves circumnavigator. This simple world looks much more complicated with a damaged ship and broken self-confidence. Already the crossing of the Bay of Biscay seems to me like a summit tour, three days … Read more

Travelling as encounter

It’s quiet. The engine is switched off. No breeze curls the water. Reykja drifts across the dark ocean. I want to sleep for a few hours. Suddenly a deep snout. Then breaths from everywhere. It knocks me over. I’ve seen dolphins in the past few days. Hearing them is something completely different. With my eyes, … Read more